it seems like we have been waiting for this date for years. In fact we have. The day started the same as the one before. Coffee and more coffee while we waited for our translator and coordinator to arrive. we left at noon and our appt was at 4.
Galina, our coordinator is a very religious person. She wanted us to visit Kiev's largest church and pray while touching the stones of the original church structure from before the war. To get there we rode a bus, the subway ( which is a 5 minute escallator ride under the city!) And 1 more bus. At times they were so cramped that I wasn't sure if the b.o. Was mine or the lady's next to me.
The church was huge. An orthodox church with caves underneath. Many important priests are "miraculously" entombed here for all to see. Glass coffins with bodies wrapped in religious clothing. It was amazing to see the tunnels and rooms where the priests once lived. For some reason the bodies stay preserved although they have not been subject to any preservation method.
We moved on to touch the prayer stones. Galina was happy. Cindy got yelled at by a preist in Ukranian because she went into a restricted area...
To the appt from there we rode 2 oe 3 more buses. With no air conditioning and cramped quarters you can imagine it is an unconfortable but interesting ride (between the priest on his cell phone that rang with ukrainian Monk chants to the guy dressed like a russian mafia hitman).
We arrived a 1/2 hour early for the appt and reviewed our game plan. The scene was nervous outside. There were many ukrainian coordinators and apparently they are always waiting outside to submit paperwork for people like us.
Galina was able to join us in the appt which is a new thing. She was there to listen but not allowed to speak for the most part. We were introduced to the young female "psychologist" who was acting as the interpereter and the chair of the meeting, an old unfriendly ukrainian lady. The tone was unfriendly from the get go. Our plan to break the ice and hopefully gain some favor by explain my Ukrainian roots, but was met with indifference. None of this was surprising given what we have been told.
They began by explaining that most, if not all, children have medical needs of some kind. We filed paperwork hoping to adopt 2 children. They explained that only sibling groups are offerred in multiple adoptions and the only children availible now as sibbling froups were 7 or older. Too old for us.
We went through the paperwork of the availible children and there were 5 altogether. We narrowed it down to 3 right away, but all had medical issues of some kind. It was explained that although these children may not be healthy enough for what we are comfortable with, we should still choose 1 child to visit. The good news was that there is a cute boy who was, 3.5 years old, who stuck out from the start. The problem was that we were not familiar with all the medical issues listed in his file. We were told that we had 1/2 an hour to make a decision or else we would have to wait approx a week for another appt. Also, we were told that the 1/2 hour was a 1/2 hour more than other families were allowed. We consulted with our translator and coordinator outside and they agreed that the boy was a good candidate to visit. To help us feel more comfortable, they contacted 2 doctors within 20 mins to get their opinions. Both surmised that the issues are potentially treatable if not cureable. He has kidney problems and a heart murmur. We sent word that we'd like to visit him and will hear word today of where he is located in Ukraine so we can plan our travel arrangements.
It was a tiring experience. ...but we feel good about the situation. We look forward to meeting with him. On one hand you want to let go and really look forward to meeting a child and trying to love him from the start. On the other hand, what if his problems are too severe?
We have heard that the process is still very corrupt here. Maybe the adoption authorities were unfriendly because we brought our coordinator to the meeting? A couple last week was told behind closed doors that they could have a healthy child if they paid 3500 right there. We wouldn't even want that option. To hear Leana (our translator) talk, she says the Ukrainians are disheartened with all the corruption. There is much more to the story. ...but how could outsiders feel comfortable contributing to such a terrible process?
...It is 9 a.m. Here and we have been up since 2. Another sleepless night. I am writing from a cell phone so please excuse the spelling and gammar. We will share more when we know more. I am also looking forward to sharing all the Ukrainian experiences we are having. It is amazing and sometimes a little emotional for me to be in the country from which my grandparents and parents came - to see the customs and similar looking people....I can't believe how good looking everyone is!